It’s Cider Season……

11 04 2016

The apple harvest is well underway, the neighbours have been busy with their army of pickers; truckloads of bins have been hauled away to Willie Smith’s for sale, while I (and the wwoofers) have 20160408_094832been busy…….. fencing.  Without a working permaculture plan, nearly all my apples will again go to waste this year.  One day, the surplus will be fed to pigs and goats and cows, in the meantime  I just have to accept that these things take time, and hopefully next year I will be on top of things.

It’s been blowing a gale again.  I was warned Arve Road was like a wind tunnel, and they were right.  We had one gust to 85km/h (over 50 MPH).  You may recall me mentioning my windytractorgeese escaping from their tractor a few weeks ago….. well I think I’ve worked out why now.  The night that happened was even windier than now, and I simply could not understand how they had escaped, though suspecting the wind had something to do with it, not least freaking them out.  Today, I am certain the wind was involved!  I found said tractor one windrow downwind, upside down this morning!  And getting it back on its wheels will be fun, I am certain…..  This is a problem I will have to solve, because the plan is to get some Muscovy ducklings soon, and they’ll have to live in that tractor until they are big enough  to be as raptor proof as any duck can be.

Weighing it down with nesting boxes, and lopping the top off are options I will have to look into…..

Fortunately, not all the apples are going to waste, Annéa has been trying out every apple dessert recipe she knows, fueling Simon’s hard work!  Even though I feel like my kitchen is way too crude, I think she’s enjoying having the facilities to apply her chemistry to good use.  In fact, the pair of them love cooking too, and it’s a nice change for me to enjoy someone else’s for a change.

20160319_125220Last month, Matt and I made some cider from those apples I harvested from the Far East, in his shed, hoping to process at least some of his apples as well, using the equipment I inherited from Werner in Charlotte Cove…. but even with Matt’s idea of chopping up the apples with a sharpened stainless steel spade, the whole process was far too slow to do his cider as well as mine.

No doubt now he’s (mostly) finished with his harvest, I’ll be called upon to return the time invested in our cider to make some of his too!

Annéa harvested another lot of Geeveston Fannies, as she and Simon were very interested to experience some good old fashioned apple crushing.

As the last brew, now more than three weeks old, was happily bubbling away in the shed, they went to work chopping and scratting apples while I crushed.  It took 3 ½ hours to produce 25 litres of yummy apple juice, which was somewhat sweeter than I remember the last batch to be……  It’s entirely possible that three weeks between pickings could have an effect on the apples’ sweetness and therefore resulting cider too.

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Happiness is a full fermenter….!  I’m sticking my neck out with this one, hoping to make the cider using the wild yeast that should exist on the apples to begin with.  I’m told the results can be either disastrous, boring, or truly exciting.  Only time will tell, fingers crossed.

There is also the possibility that I might have made an exciting discovery of sorts.  I’m obviously new at this, and one of the things I didn’t realise (but should have) is that good cider, like good wine, is the result of much blending of different fruit varieties.  Some of the apples that go into cider, you would never eat, so bitter and or sour are they…… and the other day, while walking the fence to plan how to redo them for keeping birds in and cattle out, I found one single apple on the ground, of a variety I had not seen anywhere else in the entire orchard.

It was much bigger than any of the apples here, and yellow.  I took it to Matt, who cut a piece off the side that hadn’t yet started to rot, and the floury texture of the fruit plus its bitterness got him all excited, because, he thinks, it just might be a cider apple that could make all the difference between ordinary cider and great cider……  Matt’s always smiling, but this time, it was a different smile.  He told me to go straight back and mark the tree, because we have work to do next season!  He wants to graft sticks of that tree so we can propagate more of those apples, and we can’t even be sure that they are indeed an interesting cider variety….. because when he took it to Willie Smith’s for identification, they had no idea what sort of apple it was.  Hopefully, we’re onto something big, and after all, one can only live in hope……  especially when it comes to drinking good cider!

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6 responses

11 04 2016
Doone Wyborn

Sounds like a wind turbine is the go.

11 04 2016
Mike

One is in the planning! A 48V 1kW device……

11 04 2016
james

I seem to remember that was how the ‘granny smith’ apple was discovered.

12 04 2016
Yif

Well considering that global warming is getting stronger, that probably means you’ll eventually be having winds like they get in Iceland – where an unburied shipping container gathers no moss …

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/8/1/1407908/-B-r-arbunga-The-Aftermath-of-a-Volcano

>Windstorm after windstorm hit, rarely more than two or three days apart.
> The strongest to hit my land had 130 mile per hour winds. It ripped my
> windbreak to shreds (board after snapped at the base) and flipped over
> my storage crate three times (which was to be buried just two weeks
> later :Þ), despite it being full of tonnes of steel, glass, and wood.

13 04 2016
mikestasse

Thanks…… I needed that!

I don’t think you can quite compare the severe climate of Iceland with Tassie’s though…… we’re quite a bit further from the pole, and not covered in ice..! Nor volcanoes….

1 05 2016
Anna Crotty

Hello I have just returned from my daughter’s place in Scotts Road Geeveston. Although she bought the piece of land over four years ago she has not done much with the farm and it is pretty well derelict. Having said this she started with about 10dopper sheep and has built up the flock to roughly 60. The sheep have been pretty well looking after the grass and eating the fallen apples from about 500 apple trees. They are the best looking sheep I have ever seen.

I am now taking over the running of the place for her except for the sheep. Today my first task was to lay some cardboard down on the ground that was once garden beds. I hope to build up the ground and plant garlic.

I picked the rather sad and neglected fruit from the Geeveston Fanny trees and bought a few bags home to West Hobart. Most of the fruit is
on the ground in heaps rotting with loads of coddling moth.

Anyhow I tried one of the apples I bought home and to my absolute surprise it was sweet juicy and downright delicious. This led me to google more information on the Geveeston Fanny. My second surprise was to find your site and I enjoyed reading so many of your articles .
Hope to met you one day. No 1Scotts Road the property with three yellow painted sheds and some stock yards and of course lots of poorly neglected apple trees.

As my people are from Kenilworth Qld and I am pretty pleased I live in Hobart although I do love going back from time to time to Qld.

After my visit to the farm this afternoon I felt pretty overwhelmed and started to question my sanity in deciding to take on such a big project of trying to bring the farm back to some standard. However after finding your site and reading I felt inspired and decided my 69 years should not deter me. Thank you for your efforts and please never give up the site. I love it. Kind regards Anna Crotty

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